Granny relieved as suspects arrested

Pictures of six of the seven Khoza family members at the funeral at Caluza Sports Complex on Sunday.

Thoko Khoza (72) from Caluza in Pietermaritzburg says she is relived the suspects in the killing of her seven family members, including her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, have been arrested.
Speaking from her home after Sunday’s mass funeral, Khoza said she was still battling to deal with the harsh reality of losing her family. She said she was most comforted that the suspects are in jail as she feared she was going to be the next victim.
“I pray to God they do not get bail and rot in jail. They have caused me and my whole family indescribable pain. So far, we haven’t received any counselling,” said Khoza.
Despite the suspect being arrested, the elderly Khoza said the image of her children keeps coming back.
Another family relative and former parliamentarian, Dr Makhosi Khoza, said she had only realised these were family members when asked by a friend why she had not attended the funeral. “The newspaper report from a Johannesburg paper did not indicate that the victims were from Pietermaritzburg. The killing has demonstrated the vulnerability of women when approached by individuals posing as long lost relatives.”
Mourners from two provinces assembled at Caluza Sports Complex, Pietermaritzburg, on Sunday to bid farewell to the seven family members who were murdered in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg. The funeral of Karabo (11), Luyanda (7), Nkanyiso, Sibongakonke Khoza (2), Mbali (51), Dudu (46) and Nomfundo Khoza (28) drew dignitaries and political leaders from KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
At the funeral, it was revealed that bodies of the four children were found tied in the bedroom and the three women were discovered buried under a heap of sand inside their home.
The arrest of two men, Ernest Mabaso (27) from Zimbabwe and Fita Khupe (61) from Mozambique, was confirmed by the Gauteng Minister of Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane at the funeral.
Mabaso was arrested at the border between Mpumalanga and Limpopo and Khupe was arrested in Dobsonville, Soweto. Mabaso was arrested and found in possession of bank cards belonging to two of the seven victims.
“We saw the need to assist the family during these trying times. This is one of the most gruesome murders we have recorded in the province in recent times,” said Nkosi-Malobane.
The bodies of the deceased were brought to the Caluza hall briefly before the burial‚ owing to their state of decomposition. They were laid to rest at Mountain Rise Cemetery.
Minister for Women in the Presidency, Bathabile Dlamini, said it hurt that the victims were suspected to have been harmed by someone they regarded as family.
These two suspects appeared in the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court yesterday and Mabaso, whom police had earlier identified as Ernest Khoza, will be held at Johannesburg Central after abandoning his bail application. Mabaso’s lawyer told the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court he had abandoned his bail application out of fear for his life.
Khupe’s application, will be heard on November 12.

  AUTHOR
Bongeka Sibisi and Ntombizethu Ngcobo

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